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Mike Knowles

BY MIKE KNOWLES

@mikefruitnet

The Greenery sells head office building

Dutch marketer to lease back Barendrecht headquarters from company part-owned by Hillfresh advisor Jan van den Heuvel

The Greenery sells head office building

The Greenery will lease back its headquarters from Duo Invest

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The head office building belonging to Dutch fruit and vegetable marketer The Greenery is to be purchased by Duo Invest, a partnership company owned by brothers Cees and Jan van den Heuvel.

Until his departure in 2002, Jan van den Heuvel was director of The Greenery's import division Hagé. He now acts as an advisor to rival Dutch group Hillfresh International, the fresh produce importer established in 2007 by his son Hans, nephew Leo van den Heuvel and another director, Pieter de Jong.

Cees van den Heuvel, meanwhile, was reportedly involved in the original development and construction of the building back in 1999.

A spokesperson for The Greenery confirmed the parties had reached agreement on the sale of its eye-catching headquarters, situated close to the railway station in the Dutch town of Barendrecht near Rotterdam. None of the other adjacent facilities, including the company's packhouse centre, are included in the deal.

While in practical terms the change of ownership is not expected to prompt any alterations to The Greenery's day-to-day operations, it does stand to make considerable savings by selling the building and leasing it back, in the short term at least.

The sale of such a key asset is very much part of the group's implementation of the Phoenix project, a drastic commercial and financial restructuring introduced by former interim chief executive Okke Koo aimed at returning it to profitability.

"From this date on The Greenery leases the property back from Duo Invest," said corporate communications manager Chantal Oostvogels. "This sale only concerns the office building on Spoorwegemplacement 1 and no other Greenery properties in Barendrecht. For me and my colleagues working in the office building Greenery House nothing will change in short term."

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